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I don't want to make this a long drawn out story, but the wife and I found a fire extinguisher Sunday a week ago laying alongside the roadway. We stopped, and I went to retreive it. Upon initial checkout, the thing looked fine, except fopr some scratches. The gage was fully intact and showed it to be in the geen and approx 195 to 200# pressure according to the gauge. It was a 5# dry chemical type. I carried it back to the pickup truck and got inside, and placed the extinguisher on my lap for a yet closer examination and to show the wife. I turned it over and the valve seperated from the cylinder. I had some teeth knocked out and a fracture of the upper jaw and cheek bone and busted lips and nose. I fiared out pretty darn good, as my wife caught the majority of the force by having the cylinder hit her on the side of her head just above the temple and behind the eye. Needless to say she was hurt very bad. Once I regained control of the situation, I managed to get her to the emergency room. She was bleeding very badly and in extreme pain. There was a gash approximately 4 to 5 inches long and very deep on the side of her head. Once at the emergency room, they got her stabilized, and the bleeding stopped, and took X-rays. The X-rays revealed that her skull was fractured, and the pieces were pushed inside into her brains cavity. She was imediately transferred to a different hospital where she underwent emergency surgery to have the fragments removed. The lining between the skull and brain was torn, and things were touch and go for a while, buty she made it. Dr's said she is lucky to be alive and doing as good as she is doing. She spent a few days in ICU and then moved to a seperate room, and was discharged this weekend. She has blurred vison and balance problems but the outlook appears to be good, and they do not think any permanent damage is done. Its just going to take time.

Now on to my point on safety. We all have or should have extinguishers, but I bet they are amaong the most abused items around. They get dropped and bumped and put back in the holder etc. It was the drop from what ever vehicle the extinguisher fell from that broke the valve to cylinders connection. All it did was break the torque loose. Subsequesnt handling and the threads propensity to unscrew itself a bit with pressure (according to investigators) led to it finally reaching the point the remaining threads could not hold up against the internal pressure. Nothing was really broken, other than the torque. They haave straight pipe threads, and unturn fairly easy by hand, once the torque is broken, but they can still take a very ong time to leak down to a point that they are empty.

So if you drop a fire extinguisher, please have it checked, as it may be a time bomb waiting to happen. Its also a good idea if the extinguishers you have are over 12 years old to have them inspected by a reputable firm. Finding a so called used but suerviceable extinguisher whose history is unknown is like playing russian roulette, as it was stated to me, by a few individuals that investigated this accident, so the price of having it fully checked is a small sum to pay. Best yet, is let it and call the authorities. This goes for any pressure containing vessel, that you may stumble on. This sort of accident does happen, although not quite as common, its a freak thing, but it still happens from time to time, and we just happened to be the ones to have it occur with. It could have been you just as easy as me, so play it safe...........just because it may look serviceable does not mean it is.

Be safe

PS The wife is doing just fine as of now. Things are getting back to what we consider normal, but for me at my age, unless I get dentures, I will never eat cob on the corn or an apple again like I was able to a week ago. My wife is subject to sieizures and blurred vison, but hopefully that should all go away with time. It could have been a lot worse than it was.
 

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Chipmaker,

What a terrible freak accident. My father worked for a hospital inspecting fire ext. Every few years, they would pull them, and have them pressurized to some rediculous #.
I agree, I have had one explode ina car trunk. No damage, just powder everywhere.

Thanks for the warning, and take it easy!
JimD
 

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:ditto: Glad you and her are ok thats something you never think about glad you brings that up. Will pay more attention to that from now on.
Jody
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not rying to be ghoulish etc, but attached is an image of the after shots taken after the wifes release from hospital and just what a fire extinguisher or any pressurized vessel is capable of doing to ones head. By all rights she should not be here now!
Y'all be carefull!
 

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Sorry to hear of you and your wifes injuries but you are lucky that
it was not worse. Also thanks for sharing the information on how dangerous they are. I have some old ones in the garage I wonder where a person can dispose of them ? Possible the fire station ?
Rodster
 

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Sorry

Thanks for sharing the story and re-emphasizing the danger factor involved with these.

Thank God you and your wife were not injured any worse. I'll pray for your complete and speedy recovery.

BTW, if you require implants to replace your teeth be prepared for sticker shock!:(
 

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oh my god, CM that is horrible. i m glad it was not worse. I never would have thought a presumably harmless item could cause so much damage..


speedy recovery to you both...

PS. i cut the corn right off the cob after its boiled and mix it with butter/S&P i like it better than on the cob...


SJ
 

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Chipmaker, I'm sorry to hear of your accident and glad to hear that it turned out reasonably well considering. Speedy recovery to you and Mrs. Chipmaker.:lucky:
 

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Chipmaker, Glad to hear that you and your wife are getting better. I have already and will continue to pray for yall. Tony
 

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Chipmaker,

I have an amazingly similar scar. Over my right ear though. Bicycle accident as a child. Anyway, that God you are safe.
JimD
 

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checking mine

Chipmaker,
First let me say Thank God you and the Mrs. are gonna be alright.Your mishap opened my eyes,I carry extinguishers in my trucks.When I go outside this morning I will check to make sure that they are not flopping around.The one in my dump is laying behind my seat because it is a pain to get back into the mounting bracket.But it is getting mounted this morning.
Best of luck with yours and Mrs.Chipmakers recovery!
 

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Thanks for the Warning

And thank god you and the mrs. are doing all right. I think you opened everyones eyes with this unfortunate mishap.

Godspeed to you both.
 

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chipmaker

Since you posted this account I have mounted the exstinguishers I have in my trucks,and the two I keep at home.
 

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What a tragedy. I am impressed and moved that you have found the will to post about such a horrific story and even more impressed that you cared enough to share it with all of us. I am truly sorry that this occured and you guys are extremely fortunate that it was not even worse. There truly are freak accidents every day and we need to be truly thankful and never take anything for granted. Thanks so much for sharing --- Please let us know if we can do anything for you. I will say a special prayer for you tonight.

Best wishes,
Andy
 

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I've heard that they can do that, but have never actually known anyone its happened to. Glad to here that all is getting better.

We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
 

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Chipmaker,
What a tragic accident but I am glad that you and your wife are fundamentally ok. My take on your misfortune is we all should pay closer attention to any vessel that is pressurized around the house including aerosols. The irony of your story is a fire extinguisher is supposed to be a piece of safety equipment and not a lethal weapon. I sincerely hope for a full recovery for both of you with no long term disabilities.

I'm not a litigious person but you might want to consider investigating whether or not the fire extinquisher manufacturer could be deemed negligent here. Falling off a truck is not a totally unexpected circumstance and it should be built at least strong enough to withstand that type of shock without damaging the valve. At a minimum you might consider writing them a letter detailing the accident as you have done here and strongly suggest they redesign their equipment to help prevent this in the future. If they are a ethical company they might offer to pay any out of pocket costs not covered by your insurance.
 

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OMG... I just finally got around to reading this thread. I was reading the thread wondering if you posted it as a first person expierence or if it was a copy/paste from some internet junkmail. When done reading, I figured *probably* first person... seeing the picture... OMG, he's not kidding around or spreading internet folklore.

Glad things turned out as good as they did, hope both of you get even better. OMG, OMG, OMG... never would have dreamed it.
 

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Chipmaker,
I'm so very sorry to hear of your accident. I too have first hand knowledge of a high pressure cylinder accident. A factory I worked in over 20 years ago, was really sloppy about safety. A gas bottle in the welding department fell over and the valve was knocked off. That thing took off like a missle across the floor and went the full length of the factory, through the cement block wall at the end and came to rest outside. Thankfully no one was hurt. but I developed a very strong respect for any pressurized container. I'll pray for your complete recovery and thanks for the warning. You have already gotten several people to properly store their extinguishers and that is a good thing.
 

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This past weekend I was taking my back pack leaf blower off and I reached arould the back and I burnt my hand on the muffler

Adam
 
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